Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders: Mexican wins with eighth-round stoppage


This right uppercut led to Saunders being unable to continue after returning to his stool

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez produced a devastating uppercut to leave a distraught Billy Joe Saunders unable to rise from his stool after eight rounds of their world title unification bout.

Just as Saunders looked to be gaining a footing, the Mexican found a shot which caused an instant swelling over the British fighter’s right eye.

Saunders’ trainer called the bout off, with his fighter unable to see.

“I think I broke his cheek,” said Alvarez. “The truth is I knew it.”

Alvarez, 30, added: “I guessed in the corner and told my trainer Eddie Reynoso ‘I broke his cheek’.”

Within seconds of landing the pin-point blow – made more forceful by the fact Saunders was crouching into the shot – Alvarez raised his hands in front of his rival, ruthlessly letting the 73,126 in attendance know that he had broken the resistance of a man now at his mercy.

Saunders, 31, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken eye socket, an injury which has proven difficult to overcome for the likes of British fighter Kell Brook in recent years.

As an emotional Alvarez was left in the ring thanking what was a record indoor crowd for a boxing event in the US, footage on the big screen inside Arlington’s AT&T Stadium showed a heartbroken Saunders visibly in pain on his walk back to his changing room.

Ruthless, emotional, remarkable

Alvarez raises his hands in front of Saunders seconds after landing the decisive uppercut
Alvarez raised his hands in front of Saunders seconds after landing the decisive uppercut

Saunders – who was unbeaten in 30 fights – was down on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage but he had unquestionably posed a puzzle and – albeit briefly – threatened to turn the tide in the middle rounds.

Early on the Briton struggled to hold off the calculated pressure of Alvarez, who threw with spite when up close while his rival could merely flick out shots in a bid to maintain distance.

But through rounds six and seven Saunders landed more and his confidence peaked with every minute that Alvarez failed to pin him in.

Some 59 fights – and only one defeat – have however given the Mexican an assurance few ever enjoy between the ropes. When his moment came, he countered a Saunders attack with a decisive right uppercut and mercilessly followed it with an attack of head and body until the bell sounded.

Now the owner of the WBA, WBC and WBO world titles in the super-middleweight division, Alvarez wants to fight American Caleb Plant for the IBF title in a bid to become the only Mexican in history to hold all four belts at 168lbs.

Few would bet against him doing it and continuing a remarkable career he has said may go on for another seven years.

Addressing the partisan crowd who cheered him passionately on Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend, he looked close to tears and said: “It’s something very difficult to explain. I don’t have words, the emotion I feel for all the people who have come out. The motivation they give me to continue on is very difficult to explain.”

Saunders was a huge underdog and any win would have ranked among the greatest a British fighter had achieved on foreign soil.

While some are quick to judge a fighter who fails to stand from his stool, the speed with which his trainer Mark Tibbs called time made clear the injuries were obvious and severe.

Saunders can take some comfort from the fact he posed the sport’s best operator some questions.

Alvarez though continues to prove himself a fighter of remarkable class and one with abundant answers.

‘Right stoppage and what now for Saunders?’

Saul Canelo Alvarez is held aloft
Alvarez has now lost just once in 59 fights and holds three of the four world titles at super-middlweight

BBC Boxing correspondent Mike Costello: “There was never any sign of panic from Canelo.

“The intensity needed to hold this man off. He is just a constant menace. When Canelo is in the ring he seems to own more of the ring than his opponent.

“For all the great work Saunders was doing, it’s like Canelo is never panicking.”

BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Steven Bunce: “What was amazing was how quickly it changed. It was all over with one punch. It’s amazing, just one shot.

“Mark Tibbs – Billy’s trainer – knows what to look for. He’s been in enough corners. He’s spent a lifetime in boxing. You sense he knew. There was no remonstrating or complaining from Billy. He is in terrible pain and more than that, he can’t see.

“I think it will be the money that makes Saunders know what he is going to do. He has made an awful lot of money. He has had fantastic pay days and invested it well. Let the eye heal. There are big fights out there for him. How do you get up for them though when you’ve been in front of 73,000 people?”

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Brett Favre doesn’t expect Aaron Rodgers to play for Packers again



FILE PHOTO: Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates after a touchdown pass to wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) during the second half of a NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

May 8, 2021

Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre believes the reported schism between Aaron Rodgers and the franchise is real, and big enough that it is a long shot Rodgers will ever suit up for the legendary franchise again.

Reports leaked on the first day of the NFL Draft that Rodgers was miffed with the Packers, specifically their front office, and told some within the organization he’d never play for them again. In a radio interview with ESPN Wisconsin, Favre said he wasn’t optimistic Rodgers would return.

“I think I know Aaron fairly well,” Favre said, “and honestly I just don’t see him coming back and just saying, ‘All right, let’s just bury the hatchet, whatever caused the rift, and I’m just going to come back and play because I love the guys, I love the Green Bay fans’ — I assume he does — but his rift isn’t with the fans or the players. It’s with the front office. Will he just swallow his pride and come in? Maybe. But I don’t see that happening.”

Favre even envisioned how the situation will unfold.

“If there’s not a trade, my gut tells me that he’d rather sit out than play. That’s just my gut,” Favre said. “There’s no reason for me to say that other than that’s what my gut’s telling me, and I think you guys know Aaron fairly well enough to sort of feel the same way.”

Publicly, the Packers have committed to Rodgers being their quarterback in 2021 and beyond. The reigning league MVP led the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV victory in February 2011, but they haven’t been back to the title game since.

Among Rodgers’ reported grievances are that the Packers selected a quarterback, Jordan Love, in the first round of the 2020 draft rather than a wide receiver, and that he felt slighted that the team released receiver Jake Kumerow one day after he praised Kumerow in an interview.

Favre was in a similar situation with Rodgers waiting to take over behind him. Green Bay now has Love waiting in the wings. Three years after Rodgers was drafted, Favre was pushed out in a trade to the New York Jets as the Rodgers era began.

Favre said he hopes Rodgers can deliver another Super Bowl to Green Bay before the end of his time there.

“But the thing is, life’s too short,” he added. “I want him to be happy. He’s been there as long as I was there, and I know what that means, and he’s put up unbelievable numbers. Win another Super Bowl and then do what you want to do, whether it’s keep playing, play somewhere else, whatever. But win one more in Green Bay and go out the way you want to go out.”

Favre said he sent a text to Rodgers on Thursday when the news of him wanting out first broke.

Rodgers told Favre, “‘Thanks for checking on me. I’ll touch base with you after all this is over.’”

“And that was it,” Favre added. “We haven’t talked since.”

–Field Level Media



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Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Patrick Bamford helps dent Spurs’ Euro hopes


Patrick Bamford is just the fourth Englishman to score 15-plus goals for Leeds in a single Premier League campaign

Patrick Bamford scored for Leeds United in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate to help dent Tottenham’s European chances.

In an absorbing game at Elland Road, Stuart Dallas put Leeds ahead with his eighth league goal of the season, the Northern Ireland midfielder pouncing from close range after Hugo Lloris’ terrific reaction save to prevent Sergio Reguilon putting through his own net.

The lead lasted 12 minutes, Son Heung-min equalising with a clinical finish after Dele Alli was allowed to run unchallenged before threading a clever pass into the South Korea forward’s path.

But Leeds responded through Bamford, who tapped in Ezgjan Alioski’s cross before substitute Rodrigo confirmed Spurs’ first league defeat in three games under interim manager Ryan Mason.

On a frustrating day for Spurs, Harry Kane had two goals ruled out for offside and hit the bar from a free-kick, while Illan Meslier produced an excellent save to keep out Serge Aurier’s deflected attempt.

With three matches left, sixth-placed Spurs are five points off fourth spot with both teams immediately above them – West Ham and Chelsea – having games in hand.

Leeds, who started the weekend in 11th spot, climbed above Aston Villa and Arsenal – who both play on Sunday – into ninth.

Will Bamford get a Euro 2020 call?

Southgate, who will this month name his squad for this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 Championship, was at Elland Road to see Bamford score his 15th Premier League goal of the season.

Earlier this season, Southgate said Bamford was close to being called up but opted instead for Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins.

With countries allowed to select a 26-player squad instead of the usual 23 at this summer’s tournament, Bamford could well be in contention for a first England call at the age of 27.

He has been a key figure in Leeds’ solid return to the top flight and was in the right place to score the decisive goal during a typical hard-working performance by Marcela Bielsa’s side.

Their return to the Premier League has been peppered with memorable moments. Leeds have taken four points off champions-elect Manchester City, won convincingly at third-placed Leicester and played some exciting football throughout.

This high-energy performance was another highlight as they scored three or more goals in a game for the eighth time. They could have scored more.

At 1-1, Lloris produced a one-handed save to keep out Jack Harrison and the Spurs keeper later denied Mateusz Klich at 2-1, before Moreno’s goal, after a superb run and pass by the returning Raphinha, settled it.

The result means Leeds will finish this season unbeaten at home in the league against the so-called big six.

Will Spurs make Europe?

This was Tottenham’s second defeat since sacking Jose Mourinho last month. Not only is 2020-21 their 13th season without a major trophy after they lost to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, they are now in danger of missing out on a place in Europe.

While Mourinho has since resurfaced in Italy at Roma, Spurs’ search for a permanent manager looks set to extend into the close season.

Whoever takes over faces a huge task.

Question marks remain over the future of England captain Kane while Gareth Bale has just three games before he is due to return to Real Madrid.

Tottenham’s next manager will be the 10th permanent appointment made during Daniel Levy’s 20 years as chairman. He really needs to get the next one right.

Having beaten Southampton and relegated Sheffield United at home under Mason, this was a careless performance against Leeds.

The hosts were much more energetic and took the lead after Aurier was allowed to cross from the left, while Eric Dier’s poor headed clearance sparked the move that led to Bamford scoring Leeds’ second goal.

Fourth place looks an unlikely prospect now for Spurs, while sixth place will become seventh if Liverpool beat Southampton at Anfield in the day’s late kick-off.

What’s next?

Leeds are at Burnley next Saturday (12:30 BST), while Tottenham are at home to Wolves on Sunday, 16 May (14:05 BST).

More to follow.

Player of the match

DallasStuart Dallas

Leeds United

  1. Squad number15Player nameDallas

  2. Squad number9Player nameBamford

  3. Squad number22Player nameHarrison

  4. Squad number5Player nameKoch

  5. Squad number10Player nameAlioski

  6. Squad number20Player nameRodrigo

  7. Squad number18Player nameRaphinha

  8. Squad number1Player nameMeslier

  9. Squad number21Player nameStruijk

  10. Squad number14Player nameLlorente

  11. Squad number43Player nameKlich

  12. Squad number2Player nameAyling

  13. Squad number23Player namePhillips

  14. Squad number11Player nameRoberts

Line-ups

Leeds

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Meslier
  • 2Ayling
  • 14Llorente
  • 21Struijk
  • 10Alioski
  • 5KochBooked at 51mins
  • 15Dallas
  • 11RobertsSubstituted forRaphinhaat 58′minutes
  • 43KlichSubstituted forPhillipsat 90′minutes
  • 22Harrison
  • 9BamfordSubstituted forRodrigoat 79′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Poveda-Ocampo
  • 13Casilla
  • 18Raphinha
  • 19Hernández
  • 20Rodrigo
  • 23Phillips
  • 24Davis
  • 28Berardi
  • 46Shackleton

Tottenham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 24Aurier
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 15Dier
  • 3ReguilónBooked at 61mins
  • 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forNdombeleat 80′minutes
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 9BaleSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 67′minutesBooked at 68mins
  • 20AlliSubstituted forLamelaat 67′minutes
  • 7Son Heung-Min
  • 10Kane

Substitutes

  • 2Doherty
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 8Winks
  • 11Lamela
  • 12Hart
  • 17Sissoko
  • 23Bergwijn
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 28Ndombele

Live Text

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St Kilda Saints v Gold Coast Suns; GWS Giants v Essendon Bombers; North Melbourne Kangaroos v Collingwood Magpies; Melbourne Demons v Sydney Swans; Port Adelaide Power v Adelaide Crows; round eight; results, new, fixtures, odds, tipping, teams, draw; Nathan Buckley, Jordan De Goey


G.Coast 1.4, 3.7, 7.9 (51)
St Kilda 0.3, 3.7, 4.12 (36)

GOALS
G.Coast: King 3, Rankine, Corbett, Holman, Weller
St Kilda: Steele 2, Billings, King

DISPOSALS
G.Coast: Miller 27, Swallow 24, Ellis 18
St Kilda: Jones 24, Billings 20, Crouch 20, Steele 19, Wilkie 19, Hill 18

The Saints have had more disposals 296-292, clearances 27-24, tackles 45-44, contested possessions 102-93, free kicks 16-11 and hitouts 42-10, yet find themselves down by 15 points.

It’s been an extremely frustrtaing and wasteful afternoon for the Saints who are playing a very safe brand of footy. The need to take the game on more in the final term.

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Andy Murray to practise with Novak Djokovic in Rome before return


Djokovic and Murray know each other’s game well

Andy Murray will practise with Novak Djokovic in Rome on Sunday and hopes to return to action in 10 days’ time.

The former world number one has not played since early March, having withdrawn from the Miami Open with a groin injury.

But a series of scans have not revealed any serious problems, and the 33-year-old sounds increasingly confident he will be fit for the French Open.

The second Grand Slam of the year begins in Paris on 30 May.

Murray will fly to Rome on Saturday so he can practise with those competing at next week’s Italian Open.

“I want to get out there to be around the top players and top tournaments,” he says.

“On Sunday I’ve got a court booked with [Diego] Schwartzman and then Novak in the afternoon.

“I want to play against the highest-level players possible because I think that will help me improve my game quicker.”

Murray then hopes to receive a wildcard to play a tournament in either Geneva or Lyon from 17 May.

He has entered French Open qualifying the following week as he does not yet know whether he will be offered a wildcard for the main draw.

He says the French Tennis Federation wants to see him competing before making a decision.

Murray has only been able to play three tournaments this year. He contracted Covid-19 just before the Australian Open, and the groin pain has taken a frustratingly long time to go away.

“It’s difficult for me to look too far into the future,” he says.

“I need to try and find a way of staying on the match court for longer. It has been extremely frustrating.

“When I had the operation on the hip I knew it was going to be unbelievably challenging. It just feels there are a couple of things that have happened this year which have been very unfortunate, that have been hard to take.

“But I didn’t expect it to be easy. I’m trying to do something that has not been done before.”

As Murray and his metal hip stepped up practice at the National Tennis Centre in London, there was a familiar figure with him on court.

Mark Petchey, who was Murray’s coach when he first broke into the top 50 in 2006, is currently helping Jamie Delgado with some of the coaching duties.

“Over the last few years my team and I have spent a lot of time together, and there have been a lot of difficult moments because of what’s happened with the injuries and uncertainty,” Murray says.

“I felt it would be good to have a fresh voice some weeks. Obviously I did a lot of work with Petch when I was younger. I thought he was a very good coach and because of his TV work he is very current with his knowledge.

“Having someone extra with all the quarantine situations that can come up makes sense. I know him really well, so we are looking at doing something longer term, but nothing has been agreed at this point.”

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NBA roundup: Tim Hardaway Jr. ties Mavs’ record with 10 treys



May 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) controls the ball around Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr. (11) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

May 5, 2021

Tim Hardaway Jr. matched the franchise record with a career-high 10 3-pointers as part of a 36-point effort to help the Dallas Mavericks rally for a 127-113 victory over the host Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

Luka Doncic registered 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the Mavericks won for the seventh time in the past nine games. Jalen Brunson scored 19 points and Jason Richardson added 17 for the Mavericks, who trailed by 11 in the opening minutes before outscoring the Heat 68-38 over the middle two quarters.

Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson tallied 19 points for Miami, which was without five-time All-Star Jimmy Butler (illness). The Heat had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Suns 134, Cavaliers 118 (OT)

Devin Booker’s 31 points and Chris Paul’s 23 points and 16 assists helped Phoenix hold off host Cleveland. The Suns moved back into a tie with the Utah Jazz for the top spot in the Western Conference with their fifth consecutive victory.

Rookie Isaac Okoro scored a career-high 32 points and added six assists, nearly helping the Cavaliers avoid their seventh consecutive defeat. Collin Sexton tallied 29 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

After failing to pull away throughout regulation, Phoenix opened overtime with a 15-0 run fueled by eight points from Mikal Bridges, who totaled 22 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Clippers 105, Raptors 100

Paul George scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds, helping Los Angeles rally late to defeat visiting Toronto.

Marcus Morris Sr. also had 22 points as the Clippers ended a three-game losing streak. Los Angeles overcame a six-point deficit in the last six minutes.

Patrick Beverley returned to the Los Angeles lineup for the first time since April 9 and scored eight points in 15 minutes. Fred VanVleet had 27 points and 13 assists for the Raptors, who ended a Western trip at 1-3.

Hornets 102, Pistons 99

LaMelo Ball scored 23 points to lead Charlotte to a win at Detroit.

Terry Rozier scored 18 points and Caleb Martin added 17 points for Charlotte, which moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the idle Indiana Pacers for eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Hamidou Diallo scored a career-high 35 points and Sekou Doumbouya contributed a season-high 20 points for Detroit, which lost its fourth game in a row and fell for the seventh time in eight contests.

Bucks 124, Nets 118

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a team-high 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and host Milwaukee scored its second win over Brooklyn in as many games.

The Bucks dominated the interior with advantages of 44-30 scoring in the paint, 62-50 rebounding and 20-9 on second-chance points. Coupled with an overwhelming defensive effort in the fourth quarter, Milwaukee completed the two-game sweep to gain ground in the Eastern Conference chase with Brooklyn.

The Nets’ Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 38 points, which included 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. Kevin Durant scored 32 points to move past Charles Barkley to No. 26 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Pelicans 108, Warriors 103

Lonzo Ball scored 33 points and Zion Williamson had a double-double as host New Orleans held off Golden State.

Ball made 11 of 23 shots, including 7 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc. Williamson tallied 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for New Orleans, which closed with a 13-5 run.

One night after scoring 41 points in a win at New Orleans, Stephen Curry tallied 37 to lead the Warriors. However, he recorded just two points in the fourth quarter. Curry grabbed nine rebounds, and teammate Andrew Wiggins had 26 points.

Kings 103, Thunder 99

Buddy Hield compiled 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Kings to a win at Oklahoma City.

Delon Wright came up with a pair of big blocks in the game’s closing moments to help the Kings hold off a furious Thunder run. Wright, starting in place of Tyrese Haliburton (knee), scored the Kings’ only two field goals in the final 5:40.

Darius Bazley scored 24 points to lead the Thunder, which lost a fourth consecutive game and fell for the 21st time in 23 games.

–Field Level Media



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Transfer rumours: Pellegrini, De Gea, Aguero, Bissouma, Zidane, Benteke, Silva


Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Roma manager from next season could mean 24-year-old Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini moving to Liverpool. Mourinho is interested in bringing in players he knows, including 32-year-old Manchester United and Serbia midfielder Nemanja Matic. (Mirror)external-link

Barcelona have opened talks with representatives of 32-year-old Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, who will leave Manchester City as a free agent in the summer. (Sky Sports)external-link

Arsenal are leading the race to sign Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma, 24, with Tottenham, West Ham and Everton also making enquiries. (Express)external-link

Manchester City will consider a move for Mali’s Bissouma, having backed out of a potential bidding war for West Ham’s 22-year-old England midfielder Declan Rice. (Star)external-link

Arsenal and Everton are interested in Sheffield United’s 23-year-old Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge. (Sky Sports)external-link

Manchester United have been told Eintracht Frankfurt’s Portugal striker Andre Silva, 25, will cost them £35m this summer. (Express)external-link

Brighton manager Graham Potter, 45, would not be allowed to leave for the vacant Tottenham job if approached, says Seagulls chief executive Paul Barber. (Argus)external-link

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa wants to keep North Macedonia defender Ezgjan Alioski, 29, but does not know what the future holds after he was linked with a move to Galatasaray. (Yorkshire Evening Post)external-link

Chelsea will offload defenders to raise funds for a summer transfer spree, with Spain defender Marcos Alonso, 30, and Italy defender Emerson Palmieri, 26, likely to leave. (Goal)external-link

Chelsea and Inter Milan are poised to make a move for 31-year-old Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who has found opportunities limited at Barcelona since his arrival from Juventus last summer. (Sport)external-link

Former England winger Ashley Young, 35, says it would be difficult to turn down a return to his boyhood club Watford if he does not sign a new contract with Inter Milan at the end of the season. (Sky Sports)external-link

Marseille’s France forward Florian Thauvin, 28, has rejected an offer from Crystal Palace and will instead join Mexican side Tigres in the summer. (La Provence – in French)external-link

Juventus and Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, 36, is on the radar of several Major League Soccer clubs. (Calciomercato – in Italian)external-link

Brentford have been linked with Hibernian and Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet, 24. The Bees are making plans for next season and the potential sale of 25-year-old English forward Ivan Toney, who is wanted by several clubs, including Chelsea and West Ham. (Sun) external-link

Real Madrid players fear manager Zinedine Zidane, 48, is “tired and annoyed” and will walk away from the final year of his contract in the summer. (Goal)external-link

After Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final exit against Chelsea, 30-year-old Belgium forward Eden Hazard, Brazil defender Marcelo, 32, and 29-year-old Spain midfielder Isco are not viewed as being part of the club’s future. (Marca – in Spanish)external-link

Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard has apologised to fans on social media after he was seen laughing with his former Chelsea team-mates shortly after his side’s Champions League exit. (ESPN)external-link

Crystal Palace and Belgium striker Christian Benteke, 30, could seal a free transfer to Fenerbahce, with his contract expiring on June 30. (Sun)external-link

Everton have offered 20-year-old English defender Joe Anderson, who is out of contract in the summer, a new deal amid growing interest from English Football League clubs. (Liverpool Echo)external-link

Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Barcelona’s 21-year-old Spanish midfielder Riqui Puig this summer. (Fichajes – in Spanish)external-link

Barcelona and Paris St-Germain want Monaco’s 23-year-old Brazilian defender Caio Henrique. (UOL – in Portuguese)external-link

Friday's Daily Telegraph
Friday’s Daily Telegraph

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Manchester United book showdown with Villarreal in final as Arsenal fall short


Manchester United have finally reached a major final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The English giants completed an 8-5 victory on aggregate despite losing 3-2 to Roma in the second leg of the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday (Friday AEST).

Edinson Cavani celebrates United’s opener against Roma.Credit:AP

It ended a run of four losses in the semi-finals of major tournaments in the past 18 months for Solskjaer, who is under pressure to win United’s first trophy since 2017. That came in the Europa League, when Jose Mourinho was manager.

Villarreal will be United’s opponent in the May 26 final in the Polish city of Gdansk after the Spanish side beat Arsenal 2-1 on aggregate in the other semi. The second leg finished 0-0 on Thursday (Friday AEST).

Faced with a huge task at the Stadio Olimpico after their 6-2 thrashing at Old Trafford last week, Roma created enough great chances to pull off what would have been a remarkable comeback.

Goals by Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante, in the 57th and 60th minutes, briefly put Roma 2-1 ahead and were the least the Italian team deserved after regularly breaching United’s defence. The visitors were thankful for a slew of saves by David de Gea in both halves, ensuring Nicola Zalewski’s 83rd-minute winner on the 19-year-old’s debut proved only a consolation for Roma.

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Roma couldn’t keep United at bay at the other end as Cavani showed his prowess as a finisher, opening the scoring in the 39th minute by taking a touch from Fred’s pass and smashing it home from just outside the area.

His second goal, a header from Bruno Fernandes’ cross in the 68th minute, made it 2-2 and came as a relief for United because Roma was threatening to score at will.

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British and Irish Lions 2021: Sam Simmonds in 37-man squad but Billy Vunipola misses out


Sam Simmonds’ last England cap came in a defeat by Ireland in March 2018

Exeter’s Sam Simmonds is included ahead of fellow England number eight Billy Vunipola in a 37-man British and Irish Lions squad, with two-time tourist Johnny Sexton also left out.

Wales great Alun Wyn Jones, 35, is confirmed as captain for what will be his fourth Lions tour.

England forward Courtney Lawes – out injured since February – and lock Jonny Hill are also in the squad.

In the centres, Scotland’s Chris Harris and Ireland’s Bundee Aki are named.

England’s Jonny May and Henry Slade are left out as is 2013 tourist Manu Tuilagi, who last played in September because of an Achilles injury, and Wales centre Jonathan Davies.

Another notable omission is England prop Kyle Sinckler, with Ireland’s Andrew Porter joining compatriot Tadhg Furlong and Scotland’s Zander Fagerson as the tight-heads.

Sam Underhill and Josh Navidi miss out on places in the competitive back-row positions, but Jack Conan of Ireland and Scotland’s Hamish Watson are present.

Ireland pair James Ryan and Garry Ringrose also failed to make the cut for a squad with 11 England players, 10 Wales players, and eight each from Scotland and Ireland.

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British and Irish Lions 2021 squad

Captain: Alun Wyn Jones (Wal)

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne (Ire), Jack Conan (Ire), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Eng), Tom Curry (Eng), Zander Fagerson (Sco), Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Tadhg Furlong (Ire), Jamie George (Eng), Iain Henderson (Ire), Jonny Hill (Eng), Maro Itoje (Eng), Wyn Jones (Wal), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Ken Owens (Wal), Andrew Porter (Ire), Sam Simmonds (Eng), Rory Sutherland (Sco), Justin Tipuric (Wal), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco).

Backs: Josh Adams (Wal), Bundee Aki (Ire), Dan Biggar (Wal), Elliot Daly (Eng), Gareth Davies (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Chris Harris (Sco), Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Conor Murray (Ire), Ali Price (Sco), Lewis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Finn Russell (Sco), Duhan van der Merwe (Sco), Anthony Watson (Eng), Liam Williams (Wal).

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Simmonds comes in from the cold

Back row Simmonds’ last international appearance was in a 24-15 defeat by Ireland in March 2018.

He has failed to add to his tally of England caps since despite winning European player of the year last season and leading the Premiership try-scoring charts this term.

His relative lack of bulk had been seen as a possible weakness, but Gatland has instead been swayed by his prowess over the ball at rucks and speed with ball in hand.

“He changes the dynamic of how you play. He is lightning quick. He is a dangerous guy, a point of difference,” former tourist Ugo Monye said on Monday’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

Scots provide biggest contingent in generation

Duhan van der Merwe
Duhan Van der Merwe was capped by South Africa under-20s before qualifying for Scotland on residency grounds

Only two Scotland players made the initial Lions squad for the tour of New Zealand four years ago.

After landmark wins away to England and France in this year’s Six Nations and head coach Gregor Townsend’s appointment among Gatland’s backroom staff it was always likely to be higher for the trip to South Africa.

The total of eight is the largest number of Scots in a touring party since 1989.

Centre Harris is rewarded for fine displays, particularly in defence, during the Six Nations while wing Duhan van der Merwe, who was the leading British and Irish player in terms of tries and metres made in the tournament, will tour the country where he was born and brought up.

Prop Rory Sutherland, like England back row Lawes, makes the trip despite still recovering from an injury.

Gatland also opts for Scotland’s playmaking fly-half Finn Russell despite some doubts whether he would fit the New Zealander’s style.

Gatland shows ruthless edge once more

Jonathan Davies and Johnny Sexton
Davies and Sexton have been key parts of the last two Lions tours

With the squad shrunk by coronavirus considerations there was no room for sentiment and Gatland, who famously dropped Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll for the final Test in a series win over Australia, has shown his ruthless edge once again.

Sexton, 35, came in after defeat in the first Test to steer the Lions to a share of the series in New Zealand four years ago.

Davies played every minute of the Tests against the All Blacks and was voted the tourists player of the series.

Neither though make the cut after injury and indifferent form.

“We saw some outstanding performances in the recent Six Nations, so competition for places has been tough with some incredibly tight calls to make,” said Gatland.

“We’ve left out some very talented players which gives an indication to the strength of this squad.”

Lions squad in numbers

5 – number of players from Saracens – the most from any club side

11 – number of England players, one more than Wales and three more than Scotland and Ireland

18 – number of first-time Lions tourists

19 – number of times Alun Wyn Jones has played for Wales and the Lions against South Africa

20 – age of Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit, the youngest member of the squad

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NHL roundup: Penguins rout Flyers, grab first place in East



May 4, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

May 5, 2021

Sidney Crosby registered two goals and an assist as the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3 on Tuesday to claim sole possession of first place in the East Division.

Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who are 7-2-0 in their past nine games. Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson added a goal and an assist, while Jason Zucker, Mark Friedman and John Marino also scored. Tristan Jarry made 30 saves.

The Penguins are two points ahead of the Capitals, who were idle Tuesday, but Washington has two games in hand.

Justin Braun, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny scored for Philadelphia, which lost for the fourth time in five games. Brian Elliott stopped 24 shots in the defeat.

Oilers 4, Canucks 1

Leon Draisaitl scored twice and Connor McDavid notched another two points in his chase for 100 on the season to lead visiting Edmonton to a victory over slumping Vancouver.

McDavid, who is running away with the scoring title, collected two assists to give him 93 points; he has five games to reach the century mark. Evan Bouchard and Darnell Nurse also scored while goaltender Mike Smith made 28 saves for the Oilers.

Brock Boeser scored for the Canucks, who have lost six straight games and are on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs. Thatcher Demko stopped 23 shots.

Hurricanes 6, Blackhawks 3

Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter each scored two goals and Carolina erased a two-goal deficit to defeat Chicago in Raleigh, N.C., stretching its points streak to 12 games.

Teuvo Teravainen and Martin Necas also had goals for the Hurricanes. Svechnikov and Teravainen had an assist apiece, and Sebastian Aho and Vincent Trocheck posted two assists each for Carolina, which has won five games in a row. Petr Mrazek, in his first game since April 19, made 27 saves for the win.

Alex DeBrincat scored two goals and Mike Hardman, playing his fifth career game, recorded his first NHL goal for the Blackhawks, who are 0-5-1 in their past six games. Patrick Kane notched two assists, and Collin Delia stopped 22 shots.

Sabers 4, Islanders 3 (SO)

Anders Bjork scored twice in regulation as well as the lone goal of the shootout, and Michael Houser stopped 45 shots as Buffalo rallied for a home win over New York.

Houser has opened his NHL career with two wins over the Islanders in two nights.

With Buffalo trailing 3-2, Bjork beat Islanders rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin (28 saves) on his short side, under the glove with 9:04 left in regulation to level the contest. It was the first multi-goal game of the season for Bjork, who beat Sorokin up high in the shootout.

Devils 4, Bruins 3 (OT)

Pavel Zacha scored his second goal of the game with 2:18 left in overtime as New Jersey won its home finale by coming back from a pair of one-goal deficits to beat Boston in Newark, N.J.

Zacha shuffled the puck as he bore in on the crease before flicking a backhand over Jaroslav Halak’s glove shoulder to give the Devils their fourth win in five games. Jesper Boqvist and Yegor Sharangovich had goals for New Jersey while Damon Severson and Jack Hughes had two assists apiece. Mackenzie Blackwood logged 33 saves for the victory.

Patrice Bergeron, Taylor Hall and Sean Kuraly scored for the Bruins, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Matt Grzelcyk and David Pastrnak each had two assists, and Halak finished with 17 saves.

–Field Level Media



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